Dreaming the Skyline

Resort Architecture and the New Urban Space

Passing through Las Vegas is Route 91, the archetype of the commercial strip, the phenomenon at its purest and most intense. We believe a careful documentation and analysis of its physical form is as important to architects and urbanists today as were the studies of medieval Europe and ancient Rome and Greece to earlier generations. Such a study will help to define a new type of urban form emerging in America and Europe, radically different from that we have known; one that we have been ill-equipped to deal with and that, from ignorance, we define today as urban sprawl.

- Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, Steven Izenour, Learning from Las Vegas, 1972

Long after Las Vegas’ influence as a gambling heaven has gone, Las Vegas’ forms and symbols will be influencing American life. That fantastic skyline! Las Vegas’ neon sculpture, its fantastic fifteen-story-high display signs, parabolas, boomerangs, rhomboids, trapezoids, and all the rest of it, are already the staple design of the American landscape outside the oldest parts of the oldest cities, They are all over every suburb, every subdivision, every highway . . . they are the new landmarks of America, the new guide posts, the new way Americans get their bearings.

- Tom Wolfe, “Las Vegas (What?) Las Vegas (Can’t Hear you! Too Noisy) Las Vegas!!!” Esquire Magazine 1964, reprinted in The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby 1965

From the El Rancho to CityCenter, the Las Vegas Strip with its mega-resort hotel/casinos has developed a distinctive architectural style and type, which has now been copied and exported to other gaming and resort cities throughout the world. Not only has this architecture transformed the physical environment of Las Vegas, it has become a leitmotif for post-modern architecture. Aesthetically eclectic, it has become a hallmark of the themed amusement park that characterizes the new urban entertainment and recreational space.

Location of all projects in the collection
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Featured Image
Holiday Inn and Holiday Casino
Skyline Comments
Photograph of a rendering of the International Hotel (Las Vegas), circa 1968:
This is a great image. Thanks
Photograph of men playing faro in a Fremont Street casino (Las Vegas), circa 1930:
I love this picture and the other one you have on the Faro Game. Please let me know How I...
Film transparency of the swimming pool and patio of the Thunderbird Hotel (Las Vegas), circa 1950s:
The 1950'S images are great! Do you have more like this and how can I order reproductions?
Timeline
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